Building permit expiry dates

Published March 2020


Some old building permits, generally issued before November 2012, did not have an expiry date.  When the building work associated with these permits is not completed, it creates a number of problems for the owners of those properties and the safety of our buildings.  If permits are allowed to simply go on forever, it creates uncertainty about the legal status of some building work, especially where the ownership of the property has changed, perhaps more than once.  Allowing building work to proceed many years after it was designed, also means that the improved safety features of our building standards would not need to be used, putting everyone in the community at risk.

Introduction of a 2 year expiry date

To address these problems, a 2 year expiry date was introduced in November 2012 for all building permits issued after that time.  That 2 year life of a building permit was applied to all open building permits with the introduction of the current building act on 1 January 2017. It was recognised that more time was needed to review all outstanding permits and the expiry for permits that did not previously have an expiry date.  The expiry date was extended in December 2018 until 1 July 2020.

Permits that were issued without an expiry date will now expire on 1 July 2020, unless they are completed or extended before this date

What to do before a permit expires?

One of two courses of action must be completed before the expiry of your permit.  Either:

  1. complete the building project or
  2. extend the expiry date to allow for completion of the project.

These actions have always been a part of the permit process. The only thing that has changed is that there is now a deadline to get them done.

Completing the work on the project needs to be finished, including the finalisation of compliance inspections. This includes a:

  • Certificate of Final Inspection from your Building Surveyor and
  • Certificate of Completion from your council Permit Authority.

How to apply for an extension

If the building/plumbing/demolition work on a project (including conducting the final inspection) won’t be finished before the permit expiry date, the owner needs to apply to have the permit extended. This is done by submitting the relevant application form to the council Permit Authority along with supporting information.

What happens if a permit expires before work is completed?

If a permit expires and there is further building/plumbing/demolition work to be done, the owner needs to apply to the council Permit Authority for a new permit to complete the project. A new permit application must comply with the Building Act 2016, including design documentation and current forms.

It is illegal to continue work without a valid permit in place

For more information, read our Fact Sheet on Expiry of Permits (PDF, 183.3 KB).

Updated: 03 Mar 2020